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Brits warned to check travel cover for Covid claims

Emma Lunn
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Emma Lunn

Holidaymakers have been urged to check that their travel insurance is pandemic-proof after a study found that almost a quarter of single trip travel insurance policies don’t cover cancellation claims relating to Covid-19.

Insurance experts at Forbes Advisor UK analysed 90 single trip policies from 33 travel insurance providers to find out whether claims that arise due to Covid-19 are likely to be covered.

They found the majority of policies – 78% – provide enhanced Covid-19 cover as standard, but almost a quarter (22%) don’t cover cancellation claims relating to coronavirus.

The news comes just days after the government announced the framework for permitting international travel this summer. Plans include the launch of a new traffic light system and the introduction of travel certification.

Travellers are being encouraged to check their policy details carefully to ensure that they have adequate cover in place before they jet off abroad.

Enhanced Covid-19 cover ensures a policyholder will have at least some form of cancellation cover if they can no longer travel due to coronavirus. Many travel insurance policies provide this sort of protection if an insured person cannot go on holiday due to a medical reason affecting them or an immediate family member, but Covid-19 is a common exclusion unless enhanced cover is included.

Despite offering a more comprehensive level of cover, policies that include enhanced Covid-19 protection are not necessarily more expensive than those that don’t. For example, the cheapest price for a couple in their mid-30s going on a two-week holiday to Cyprus at the end of June this year came in at £15.63 and included this additional level of cover.

Kevin Pratt, insurance expert at Forbes Advisor UK, said: “After more than a year in some form of lockdown, and with the vaccine rollout continuing apace, people are understandably itching to book and go on holiday this summer. Adhering to the official restrictions and guidance from the government are of utmost importance, and anyone who does book a holiday once allowed to do should obtain appropriate travel insurance to cover themselves against cancellation, delays, lost baggage and medical emergencies.

“While many tour operators, airlines and other holiday companies are offering some form of protection should a booked holiday need to be cancelled or rescheduled due to Covid-19, not all are. Nor does this safety net apply to other reasons why someone’s holiday plans may be affected, such as non-Covid medical conditions or other disruptive life events. Travel insurance is a relatively inexpensive but very helpful way to mitigate against the many things that can take the shine away from a much-needed break.”